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Religious extremists murder fourth blogger in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi secular activists participate in a torch rally held to protest against the killing of blogger Niloy Chottopadhay, in Dhaka, 8 August 2015
Bangladeshi secular activists participate in a torch rally held to protest against the killing of blogger Niloy Chottopadhay, in Dhaka, 8 August 2015

AP Photo/Rajib Dhar

This statement was originally published on on 7 August 2015.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly deplores the murder of Niladri Chattopadhyay on August 7, 2015 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The IFJ demand immediate action from the Bangladeshi Government to end the continued and systematic attacks on freedom of expression in Bangladesh.

Chattopadhyay, a secular blogger who used the pen name, Niloy Neel was brutally killed when four men armed with cleavers entered his home in Khilgoan. The men posed as potential tenants and stabbed the 28-year-old while holding his wife and sister-in-law at gunpoint. Niloy died at the scene.

Niloy was working for an NGO at the time of his death and in the months prior had received death threats. He went to the police to register the case, however they declined. Niloy wrote on women's rights, indigenious and minority peoples, human rights, social justice and was critical of religious extremism.

Following the murder, Ansar-Al-Islam, the Bangladeshi chapter of al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the killing, terming Niloy as an enemy of the god.

Niloy is the fourth blogger and fifth media worker to be killed in 2015. In February, American-Bangladeshi writer and blogger, Avijit Roy was brutally hacked to death in Dhaka. In March, secular blogger, Md Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, was killed as he went to work in Dhaka. In May, Ananta Roy was killed by Islamist extremists in Sylhet in north-eastern Bangladesh.

The Indian Journalist Union (IJU) has expressed grave concern over murder of blogger for his secular views and called upon the Bangladesh Prime Minister to take immediate steps to bring the murderers of blogger to the book and provide adequate security to the bloggers and other media person who receive threats for exercising the right of freedom of expression.

The IFJ said: "The chilling murder of the fourth blogger in a year by the religious extremist group is highly condemnable and cowardly act. A series of murder is a matter of shame for any democratic country. The IFJ urge the Bangladeshi government to urgently act to ensure the security of bloggers to protect the citizen's rights to freedom of expression."

In June the IFJ joined the Bangladesh journalist networks, the Bangladesh Manobodhikar Sambadhik Forum (BMSF) and the Bangladesh Nari Sambadhik Kendra (BNSK) in expressing concern for the worsening safety situation for journalists and bloggers in Bangladesh. In the statement, the IFJ demanded the Bangladeshi Government take immediate action and end the attack on press freedom.

The IFJ also urges Bangladeshi media workers and bloggers to take all necessary safety precautions in their daily life and to adhere to professional ethics in their reporting and commentary.

For anyone experiencing safety concerns or issues or are concerned for your well-being please contact Ujjwal Acharya (ifjsouthasia(at)gmail(dot)com) and see the IFJ Safety website for more information here.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Bangladesh: the fourth murder of a secular blogger highlights continued need for better protection

    According to PEN International’s information, Chakrabarti had faced harassment and numerous threats in recent months for his writings and activism. On 15 May he posted on Facebook that he was followed home after attending a demonstration in Dhaka protesting Bijoy Dash’s death. According to one news report, he had recently removed all of his photographs from his Facebook account and changed his current location to Calcutta owing to the threats.

  • Fourth blogger on radical Islamist hit-list hacked to death

    A member of the Shahbag movement, Neel criticized Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist fundamentalism in his blog posts. The holder of a master's in philosophy from Dhaka University, he was described as a "free-thinker" by Asif Mohiuddin, a Bangladeshi blogger who found refuge in Germany after surviving a similar attack in 2013.

  • Bangladesh: Secular blogger Niloy Neel murdered

    ". . . a speedy, independent, and effective investigation must occur," commented Tahmina Rahman, ARTICLE 19's Director of Bangladesh and South Asia. The first few hours and days following an attack are crucial to ensure relevant and reliable evidence and witness testimony is collected, to maximise the possibility of a successful prosecution.

  • Fourth blogger killed in six months in Bangladesh

    "How many more bloggers must be murdered before the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina acts decisively to stem the violence and impunity?" said CPJ Asia Program Research Associate Sumit Galhotra.

  • Bangladesh: Fourth Blogger Murdered This Year

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